Catches win matches and outstanding ground fielding can deliver World Cups.
It's something South Africa never needs to be reminded of, with the life offered to Steve Waugh at the 1999 tournament ranking among cricket's most memorable reprieves.
But on Sunday India did just that, recording a 130-run win at the MCG that called into question the Proteas' status as World Cup heavyweights.
Following Shikhar Dhawan's career-best ODI knock of 137 and a surprisingly polished performance in the field, India leapt into the box seat to top Pool B and the benefit of a possibly easier route to the semi-finals.
The clash attracted a crowd of 86,876, most of them clad in blue, wielding India flags and cheering every moment.
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Melbourne resident Dhawan celebrated his first ton on what has been a marathon tour of Australia, but should have been dismissed for 53.
India were 1-79 in the 20th over when Hashim Amla put down a catch at point. The ball was well struck. Amla got two hands to it.
Dhawan added another 84 runs as he attacked Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Wayne Parnell with flair and confidence, powering India to a total of 7-307.
MS Dhoni leads the celebrations of de Villiers' wicket // Getty Images
South Africa's response was underwhelming and inadequate, Faf du Plessis top-scoring with 55 as they were rolled for 177 in the 41st over.
Quinton de Kock fell in the fourth over, while Mohammed Shami snaffled a fine catch on the rope to dismiss Amla for 22.
Du Plessis and AB de Villiers then steadied, pushing South Africa along to 2-108.
India fans turned the MCG into an Indian home venue // Getty Images
They looked well set and very much capable of setting a new ODI run-chase record at the venue, the world's greatest batsman being at the crease and all.
Mohit Sharma thought otherwise.
With the help of wicketkeeper MS Dhoni, Sharma found de Villiers short of his ground as the superstar stretched out in search of a second run.
Du Plessis went soon after, forcing the Proteas to rebuild yet again as the required run-rate soared to 9.45 at the final drinks break.
It was too big an ask, with dangerman David Miller's innings ending due to another run-out.
Dhoni won the toss, but counterpart de Villiers fired the opening salvo.
Rohit Sharma was run out for a duck by a direct hit from the Proteas skipper, who later dismissed Ravindra Jadeja in the same fashion.
MS Dhoni runs out David Miller // Getty Images
South Africa couldn't match de Villiers' excellence, while their bowlers struggled to tie down Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane.
Dhawan and Rahane (79) both went down swinging, but their fluent 125-run stand put India on track for victory.
The Proteas were hurt by Vernon Philander's hamstring injury, with the right-armer unable to bowl after his opening spell of four overs.
Parnell conceded 85 runs in total, the most by a South African in a World Cup match.
"I was relaxed. I knew once set I could bring up the run-rate again," man of the match Dhawan said.
De Villiers lamented his team's lack of composure in their run-chase.
"Those run-outs cost us dearly," he said.
"I can be hard on my bowlers .. but it ended up being a good effort with the way India batted.
"It wasn't a good enough performance as a batting unit ..no excuses, we should have played better."
To add further insult to injury for the Proteas, the team was fined by the ICC for a slow over rate that saw them complete their alloted 50 overs some thirty minutes over their sheduled 3.5 hours.
India: Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (capt), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin,Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Umesh Yadav
South Africa: Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers (capt), David Miller, JP Duminy, Vernon Philander, Wayne Parnell, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Morne Morkel.